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Klein: House FAA Bill Passage is Welcome Development, More Work Ahead

Christian A. Klein, ARSA executive vice president, issued the following statement in response to House passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4). The bill, which passed on a 393-13 vote, would extend the agency’s funding authority into 2023:

“The passage of this important legislation after years of delay is a welcome development. ARSA has long been urging Congress to ensure the FAA has the resources it needs to oversee the industry as efficiently and effectively as possible. We’re pleased that several of the association’s priorities are part of the final House bill, including language directing the Government Accountability Office [GAO] to examine aviation maintenance industry workforce issues and adding maintenance to the stakeholders included on the agency’s new Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee. At the same time, we’re disappointed that some of our priority issues – including establishing a new aviation maintenance workforce training grant program, directing the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee to examine ways to improve repairman certificates and restoring the right to voluntarily surrender repair station certificates – were not included in the House legislation.  We look forward to continuing to work with our allies in both the House and Senate to ensure that those priorities are added as Congress works out its final bill and enacting it into law as quickly as possible.”

Previous Reauthorization Updates...

4/17/18 - House FAA Bill is 'At the Gate and Boarding'

April 17, 2018

After almost a year in limbo, FAA reauthorization legislation is finally on the move again on Capitol Hill. The FAA bill is important because it provides several years of budget authority for the agency and establishes policy priorities. The agency has been operating under a series of short-term extensions since the last multi-year bill expired in September of 2015.

The House of Representatives unveiled a revised bill on April 13 that, notably, does not include language to privatize the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system. The issue had been a major sticking point in the House, pitting Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), most airlines and President Trump against Democrats, rural state Republicans, and business and general aviation communities. ATC reform is not addressed in the Senate bill. In the interest of moving the bill forward, Chairman Shuster has put the issue aside for now, clearing the way for House action his month.

Provisions important to ARSA are included in the new House bill, notably adding aviation maintenance representatives to FAA’s new Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee and directing a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the aviation maintenance worker shortage. Not included are ARSA-supported provisions in the Senate bill restoring voluntary surrender for repair station certificates and tasking the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to explore ways to enhance the value of repairman certificates.

ARSA is also working to include a provision to establish a new program to attract and train the next generation of aviation maintenance workers. The legislation would authorize $5 million dollars per year for a new grant program to incentivize collaboration between businesses, labor organizations, schools, and local governments to address the aviation technical workforce skills gap.

The workforce language was introduced as a stand-alone bill (S. 2506) in the Senate last month by Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). ARSA is leading a coalition including Boeing, FedEx, AAR, Airlines for America, Helicopter Association International, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association and the National League of Cities. A House companion bill is expected to be introduced this week and ARSA will be working to add it to the underlying FAA bill when it goes to the House floor the week of April 23.

For more information about ARSA’s legislative activities or become more involved in the effort to enact S. 2506, please contact ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein at

FAA Bill Maintenance Amendments Box Score

ARSA Proposal In House Bill In Senate Bill
Adding “aviation maintenance” to stakeholders on new Certification & Oversight Advisory Committee Yes  Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote
Asking FAA to explore ways to enhance value of repairman certificates No – ARSA is working to identify a sponsor Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote
Directing FAA to undertake rulemaking to reinstate voluntary surrender of repair station certificates No – ARSA is working with Rep. Dan Webster (R-Fla.) to include in House bill Yes – Amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) adopted by voice vote
Directing GAO to study causes, effects and solutions to aviation technician shortage Yes No – ARSA is working to identify sponsor
Creating grant program to support aviation maintenance workforce development initiatives No – ARSA is working to identify sponsor No – Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) & Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) have introduced independent bill to be considered for inclusion in FAA legislation. 

3/27/18 - Congress Passes What Will Hopefully Be Final FAA Extension

March 27, 2018

Buried deep in the 2,149 page, $1.3 trillion appropriations bill signed by President Trump on March 23 was a provision extending the FAA’s operating authority through Sept. 30. The extension gives Congress six months to reauthorize the agency by enacting a new, multiyear FAA budget and policy bill.

The extension comes amid increased optimism that an FAA reauthorization process that has dragged on for years may finally be approaching conclusion. Both the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Senate Commerce Committees (which have jurisdiction over the process) passed bills last spring. However, the effort has been stalled over disagreements about privatizing air traffic control (in the House) and providing more flexibility for pilot training (in the Senate). With those issues resolved, there’s growing confidence that both chambers will move forward in the near future. While only minor modifications will be required to the Senate bill, the House bill will require substantial changes to compensate for the removal of ATC privatization language. Even so, there’s speculation that a bill could be on the House floor as early as late April.

The maintenance industry has a significant stake in the outcome of the FAA bill debate. In addition to providing financial resources for the agency and making changes to help improve the quality of FAA’s oversight, the legislation contains various amendments sought by ARSA, including ones to restore voluntary surrender for repair station certifications and add aviation maintenance as a stakeholder to the FAA’s new Certification & Oversight Advisory Committee. ARSA is also working to include several provisions to address the technician shortage in the industry, including language to enhance the value of repairman certificates and another to create a new aviation maintenance workforce development grant program.

It’s going to be a busy spring for ARSA and its members on Capitol Hill. To learn more about support ARSA’s lobbying on the aviation maintenance industry’s behalf, contact ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein at

9/29/17 - Congress Extends FAA Authorization

September 29, 2017

There was some drama as things came down to the wire, but Congress ultimately did what everyone expected and voted Sept. 28 to extend the FAA’s current authorization for another six months.

Early in the week of Sept. 25, the House sent the Senate a short-term FAA authorization bill that included unrelated language to encourage the creation of private flood insurance markets.  The flood provision drew bipartisan opposition from senators wanting to address the issue as part of a broader flood insurance debate. The Senate ultimately stripped the controversial language, passed the bill and sent it back to the House for quick approval before President Trump signed the bill into law.

The extension keeps FAA’s lights on through March 30, 2018 and buys more time for lawmakers to hash out the details of a longer-term FAA reauthorization bill.  Congress’ efforts at long-term policy have been hampered in the House by disagreement over whether to spin off air traffic control responsibilities from the FAA and in the Senate over language to reform pilot training requirements.

ARSA members can get deeper insight into the reauthorization process in the “ARSA on the Hill” section of the hotline, including an update on the status of the five amendments proposed by the association. Direct queries on legislative matters may also be submitted via the Ask ARSA first! system.

9/25/17 - Congress Set for Quick Action on FAA Extension

September 25, 2017

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation to keep the FAA operating for another six months.  Under current law, the FAA’s budget authority expires on Sept. 30.  House and Senate committees passed multi-year FAA reauthorization bills this summer but the legislation has not received floor consideration in either chamber. 

As far as aviation policy goes, the House FAA extension is a “clean bill,” meaning that it simply extends authorization dates and doesn’t make any changes to current aviation policy.  However, in the wake of recent hurricanes, the includes language aimed at strengthening flood insurance programs.

With the clock running down to Sept. 30, the FAA extension bill is expected to receive swift House and Senate consideration.  Once the extension has been enacted, the focus will shift back to enacting a long-term FAA bill.  In the House, Chairman Shuster is still working to round up votes to support his legislation, which has garnered opposition from the general aviation community because it would separate air traffic control functions from the FAA. The Senate bill does not include the ATC provision; however, Senate Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (R-N.Y.) is blocking the bill over concerns about changes to pilot training requirements.

ARSA will continue its efforts to use the reauthorization process to address regulatory concerns and the aviation workforce skills gap (read below to refresh your memory on this work).  To get more involved in ARSA’s advocacy, contact ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein.

6/30/17 - Maintenance Matters in Both House and Senate FAA Bills

June 30, 2017

On June 30, ARSA issued the following statement in response to recent congressional action on FAA reauthorization legislation. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee marked up and passed its bill on June 27 and the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation did the same on June 29.

Both bills were amended to include provisions important to the aviation maintenance industry (see June 27 story below). The House and Senate committees adopted amendments sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) to add aviation maintenance to the list of stakeholders that will participate on the FAA’s new Certification & Oversight Advisory Committee. The House T&I Committee adopted an amendment offered by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) to request a Government Accountability Office report on the aviation technician shortage. The Senate Commerce Committee also adopted amendments offered by Sen. Inhofe to restore the right of repair stations to voluntarily surrender their certificates and explore making repairman certificates issued to mechanics portable from one employer to another.

“ARSA is very pleased by the significant progress that both the House and Senate made this past week on the FAA reauthorization front,” ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein said. “Reauthorization represents an important opportunity to make America’s aviation system more efficient, build upon the industry’s outstanding safety record and increase economic activity in our sector. Both the House and Senate bills go a long way towards achieving those goals, particularly by improving the certification process and encouraging international cooperation between the FAA and other civil aviation authorities.

“We especially appreciate Sen. Inhofe’s leadership in offering several amendments to the Senate bill to address the aviation maintenance industry skilled worker shortage and improve the regulatory environment for repair stations and we thank Reps. Hank Johnson, Cheri Bustos, Rob Woodall, Bruce Westerman, and Brenda Lawrence for offering aviation maintenance-related provisions in the House.”

In order to get a perspective from Sen. Inhofe’s aviation-rich home state, Klein reached out to J. Terrell Siegfried, assistant general counsel & corporate secretary of NORDAM, an industry-leading aviation maintenance company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and ARSA member. Siegfried said:

“In proposing these amendments, Sen. Inhofe has once again demonstrated he is a true champion for the aviation maintenance industry, which employs close to 12,000 Oklahomans and 277,000 people nationwide. Oklahoma’s repair stations are fortunate to have a leader like Sen. Inhofe in Washington, D.C. looking out for their interests.”

6/27/17 - ARSA Works Maintenance Amendments into FAA Bill Markup Sessions

June 27, 2017

It’s the busiest week for aviation policy on Capitol Hill in recent memory. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee marked up its FAA reauthorization bill on Tuesday and the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee is set to mark up its bill Thursday morning.

For the maintenance industry, the news is generally positive: At this point in neither bill includes language hostile to repair stations. In fact, amendments are being added to address the aviation maintenance industry technician shortage and improve the regulatory environment for repair stations.

Click here to read ARSA’s letter to Shuster and DeFazio urging swift action to reauthorize the FAA.

Maintenance Amendments

Industry allies in Congress have proposed three amendments to address the skills gap. The first by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) would create a pilot program administered by the FAA to award grants to schools, governmental entities, and businesses that work together to improve technical education, create apprenticeship programs, help former military personnel transition to civilian aviation maintenance careers, and attract new talent to the industry (click here to view the House amendment).  Johnson offered and then withdrew the amendment during markup due to concerns expressed by T&I Committee leaders about how to pay for the program.  ARSA will work to add the language to the House bill prior to House passage.

The second amendment by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) would task the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study causes, effects and solutions to the technician shortage (click here to view the House amendment).  That amendment was unanimously approved by the committee as part of an en bloc amendment.

Finally, Sen. Inhofe is developing an amendment to start the process of making repairman certificates issued by the FAA portable. Under current rules, a repairman loses his or her certificate when he or she changes jobs and must reapply and be recommended for a new certificate by the next employer. Portability would make it easier for technicians to move between jobs, reduce bureaucratic inefficiency and make the certificate a more valuable professional credential, thereby encouraging more people to pursue it and aviation industry careers. ARSA will be working to get parallel language added to the House bill.

Inhofe also plans to propose an amendment to restore the right of repair stations to voluntarily surrender their repair station certificates like all other certificate holders. The FAA’s 2014 updates to part 145 added a requirement for “affirmative acceptance” by the agency of a surrendered certificate, but there is no defined process, no enumerated circumstances for acceptance or even an indication of whose decision it is. This creates considerable uncertainty for companies that wish to cease operations, merge or restructure.  

In 2015, ARSA and several other aviation industry trade associations petitioned the FAA to restore the right to surrender. The agency denied the petition and has never acted on an official request for reconsideration. Inhofe’s proposed language would direct a rulemaking to restore the right to surrender while ensuring that surrender cannot be used by “bad actors” to avoid certificate action. Getting parallel voluntary surrender language in the House bill is a top ARSA priority. 

Finally, Sen. Inhofe and Reps. Johnson and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) are also trying to amend the bills to ensure repair stations have a seat on the FAA’s new Certification & Oversight Advisory Committee (click here to view the House amendment).  The T&I Committee unanimously approved that proposal as part of an en bloc amendment.

Keep Moving Forward

Early success on a range of issues important to repair stations (and the absence at this point of hostile language) is a reflection of ARSA’s stepped up engagement on the Hill this year. Association members and staff have held close to 100 meetings both in Washington and at facilities back home. The association is now reaching out to members on a targeted basis to weigh in with key lawmakers. Those who have done so – or who will answer the call very soon – are providing a great service in amplifying the voice of the maintenance community.

Despite all the activity this week, the outlook for the FAA bills is still highly uncertain. There is considerable disagreement between House Republicans and Democrats and between the House and Senate over privatization of air traffic control (The House bill would privatize but the Senate bill wouldn’t). If lawmakers cannot reach consensus, it’s likely that Congress will pass another short-term extension and then return and reconsider FAA issues later this year or early next year.

ARSA’s position is that the FAA needs a long-term budget and policy blueprint and is urging lawmakers to enact a multi-year bill as soon as possible.

Stay tuned…there’s a lot to be done before the president signs an FAA bill into law.

5/16/17 - Don’t Punish Industry for FAA Delays, ARSA Tells Congress

May 16, 2017

As Congress begins the process of reauthorizing the FAA, ARSA is urging lawmakers not to punish the aviation maintenance industry because the agency has not yet finalized new rules for repair stations.

Recent FAA authorization laws have directed the agency to undertake rulemakings to extend drug and alcohol (D&A) testing to foreign repair stations and require pre-employment background investigations for all repair station employees performing safety-sensitive functions on air carrier aircraft.   For various reasons, including the complexity of the issues and potential impact on thousands of small businesses, the FAA has yet to finalize the rules.

In a letter sent to the leaders of the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committees on May 15, ARSA urged lawmakers to give the FAA adequate time to complete the rulemakings.  In 2008, Congress banned the FAA from issuing new foreign repair station certificates if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) failed to issue repair station security rules.  The subsequent ban lasted until the rules were issued in 2013, causing significant economic disruptions for airlines and maintenance companies – including many from the United States – wishing to open facilities abroad.

ARSA said that instituting a new ban on repair station certificates – foreign or domestic – would make it difficult for U.S. companies to tap into foreign markets, make it harder for U.S. air carriers to operate internationally, and potentially subject U.S. facilities to retaliation by foreign aviation authorities. 

“Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them,” ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein said in the letter.  “Punishing industry would do nothing to motivate executive branch action but would instead undermine growth in a globally-competitive sector of the U.S. economy, undermine the FAA’s ability to pursue reciprocal acceptance of U.S. certifications abroad, and further jeopardize the U.S. aviation industry’s global leadership.”

The letter to House T&I Committee leaders can be viewed at:

The letter to Senate Commerce Committee leaders can be viewed at:

Bookmark this page for more updates as the reauthorization process continues. To catch up on what happened in the 114th Congress, visit:

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